Celebrating Scotland's CPR champions

5 February 2019        

Category: Survival and support

Scotland is well on its way to creating a nation of lifesavers with the announcement that more than two thirds of the country’s local authorities have now committed to teaching CPR in their secondary schools.

CPR lesson at a school

Seven more councils have given their backing to the campaign, meaning 23 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities have promised to roll out the training, providing pupils in their area with the vital skills that could help save a life.

British Heart Foundation Scotland has welcomed the news and we're now actively working with the remaining councils to achieve 100 percent coverage.

There are around 3,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in Scotland each year but the survival rate is just one in 12 and for every minute without CPR, the chances of surviving drop by up to ten per cent.

In countries where CPR is more widely taught, survival rates as high as 1 in 4 have been reported. International evidence has shown that in countries like Denmark, which legislated for all secondary pupils to learn CPR, survival rates for out of hospital cardiac arrests tripled.

Those councils backing the campaign in Scotland have now pledged to work with us to develop a plan to ensure that every secondary pupil receives CPR training at an appropriate age in the curriculum and to work with head teachers and education officials to make it happen.

The move comes after discussions between BHF Scotland and council leaders over putting in place a systematic and sustainable model of CPR training in schools to address the nation’s poor survival rate from cardiac arrest outside of hospital.

Our Policy and Public Affairs Officer, Daniel Jones, said: “This is a fantastic achievement and we applaud those councils who have made this commitment to ensure their pupils are trained in CPR. Less than one in twelve people in Scotland survive an out of hospital cardiac arrest, partly because too few bystanders have the expertise or confidence to perform CPR. We want this to change and this is a significant step that promises to improve the odds of survival for anyone who has a cardiac arrest in the future. We are now engaged with the remaining local authorities in Scotland and look forward to achieving 100% coverage this year.”

A map showing the councils in Scotland which which teach children CPR

A map showing the areas in Scotland (light red) in which CPR is taught in schools, and the areas yet to start teaching CPR in schools (dark red). 

The seven additional councils to back the campaign are Dumfries and Galloway, East Lothian, Stirling, North Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, Scottish Borders and Angus. They join Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, City of Edinburgh, Clackmannanshire, Dundee City, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Eilean Siar, Glasgow City, Highland, Inverclyde, Perth and Kinross, Renfrewshire, West Dunbartonshire and West Lothian.

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